DAVAO CITY,  December 1, 2004 (STAR) By Edith Regalado - After weeks of intense training under the watchful eyes of noted American trainer Freddie Roach, Manny Pacquiao is emerging a more potent fighter and is expected to reach peak form in time for his Dec. 11 bout with Fahsan 3K Battery at The Fort in Taguig.

"Manny (Pacquiao) is now more potent and more intelligent as a fighter. He has improved a lot. He is more prepared now. I have been with him long enough to see it," said Roach during a break in his ward’s training at the Almendras gym here yesterday.

Roach said Pacquiao has been very determined and disciplined in his training and workout with the former reportedly teaching his ward "new stuff" in a bid to baffle his Thai rival.

"Pacquiao is a fast learner. He is quick in executing whatever is taught him," said American lawyer Michael Kloncz, a close associate of Roach.

Pacquiao, on the other hand, is grateful Roach came to the Philippines to personally oversee his training.

"Nagpapasalamat talaga ako at talagang pumunta siya rito (I am really thankful that he really came to the country)," said the Gen. Santos southpaw, adding he could not possibly train in the US because it is cold there at this time of the year compared to the climate in Davao.

But Pacquiao has not only been concerned with his own training but he always made sure that his sparmates and the other boxers in the gym also do the same exercises as he does.

In fact, Pacquiao had his sparring partner Philippine lightweight champion Fernando Montilla and two other boxers worked out with him.

Pacquiao himself dictated the pace of the workout which appeared easy for him but not for the three other boxers who had a hard time coping with the stamina of the boxing champion.

"Manny is a great guy. He is not selfish. He is also concerned with the other fighters and how they are doing that is why he works out with them a lot and expects the same discipline from them," Roach said.

Pacquiao is expected to run another 10 sparring rounds today with Montilla before he flies to Manila tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Pacquiao described Marco Antonio Barrera as ‘old and slow’ after the Mexican fighters scored a majority decision win over Eric Morales and capturing the World Boxing Council super featherweight crown Sunday in Las Vegas.

"Matanda na siya (He is old). Barrera is old and I am young. I watched the fight on tape, Barrera is already slow," Pacquiao told The STAR.

Pacquiao said he could not understand the many excuses Barrera and his promoter Oscar dela Hoya were saying during a post-fight interview with HBO analyst Larry Merchant, last Sunday. "Dami niya sinasabi na hindi raw siya yong nakalaban ko. Dami nila salita, dami nila excuses," said Pacquiao.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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